Your lead generation partner has just handed you a list of marketing qualified leads (MQLs). But although those leads may buy from you in future, they are not quite there yet.
So, what do you do at this point? The answer is simple. You nurture them into lower into the funnel so that they can become paying customers in future. According to Forrester research, you can generate 50% more leads and save 33% of your budget, if you practice lead nurturing. (Source: Salesforce via Invescpro)
Figure 1: Image source: Invescpro
What Are MQLs? Why Should You Nurture Them Into SQLs?
As mentioned, MQLs aren’t ready to buy. But their behavior suggests that they can become potential customers if nurtured. Although they may not yet know about your product, they may have been to your website, or interacted with content.
SQLs are lower in your funnel. They are Sales ready leads and are already showing behavior such as speaking to sales reps, signing up for free trials and attending your product demos.
MQLs are problem aware, which is why they have come to your site. But they aren’t aware yet that your product is the solution. So, through your lead nurturing campaigns, you are taking the hundreds or thousands of contacts who have visited your website, and you are trying to get them to a point where they’ll realize that they need you.
How Qualified Are Your MQLs? The Problem With Lead Nurturing Inhouse
Can you trust the leads you get from your agent?
Before you start nurturing your MQLs, you have to question if they are indeed quality leads. you will experience greater conversion rates from your leads list if you start off with a sanitized list. To guarantee this, only get your leads from trustworthy lead generation agencies.
If your leads are being generated inhouse, ensure that your marketing and sales team are aligned on factors such as personas and lead scoring.
Lack of sales and marketing alignment is a leading cause of low conversion rate among b2b leads. Research shows that 50% of sales people disregard the leads they receive from marketing.
Figure 2: Image source: HubSpot
This is not shocking, considering only 27% of the leads that sales receive from marketing are qualified. 61% of marketers do not qualify the leads they send. Source: HubSpot)
Figure 3: Image source: HubSpot
How to Nurture Leads In The Middle of The Funnel
All lead nurturing efforts take the following formats:
- Direct mail
- Paid media
How you use these media depends on the position of the leads in the funnel. Here is how to nurture MQLs
1. Send Them a Gift Box
This works best with ABM, where you have very specific leads. A gift box can include any of the following:
- Printed versions of your content. e.g., your latest eBook or case study
- Branded company products such as t-shirts, water bottles, etcetera
- Gift cards
- Sweet treats (This is especially great for holiday seasons) or special occasions
The gift basket should be branded, and the enclosed card should ask the recipient to take a specific action, such as “CONTACT US”.
In addition, the message on the card should be relevant to a specific action that the lead took recently. Here’s an example:
It was great interacting with you at the sales and marketing alignment webinar. Here’s a hard copy of our latest research just for you. You will find our study areas particularly interesting for your account based marketing campaigns.
Let’s get together and hash out the finer details for your next campaign.
Happy reading! Looking forward to your call.
Peter Joe, Marketing brands”
2. Use Detailed How-to Content To Target MQLS With a More Urgent Need
MQLs who urgently need a solution may be just on the edge of a buying decision. Such leads may need more aggressive nurturing. You should target them with detailed content showcasing
- How your product works
- How your solution will solve their problem
- Case studies from satisfied customers
- Reviews from professional publications
Your analytics can help you gauge the urgency of each lead’s need, allowing you to tailor your approach to convert such accounts faster.
3. Personalize Your Sales Enablement Content
As the name suggests, sales enablement content enables the sales rep to
- Add value, hence
- Close a sale easier
Personalized content directly addresses a lead’s specific interests and answers any lingering concerns, questions or doubts. This is particularly helpful deeper in the funnel, where a target is likely to close with a competing brand.
- 58% of pipeline fails can be attributed to sales reps’ inability to add value (source: Salesforce)
- Content helps buyers navigate through the buying journey. 95% of buyers will close with a seller who creates content that makes buying easier. Source: The TAS Group, via Slideshare)
4. Update Your Case Studies
Case studies provide social proof and are perhaps more powerful than any brand advertising you could ever do. Case studies that highlight the value and uniqueness of your product will give you a lot of mileage when it comes to convincing customers in the latter stages of buying.
Case studies have the following benefits
- They allow you to tell a relatable brand story, with your customers as the heroes in the story
- Word of mouth marketing influences other customers to buy, more than brand marketing
- You can turn customers who endorse you into brand ambassadors
Therefore, keep your customer case studies updated and featured prominently on your website.
5. Launch a Pre-Demo Email Campaign
Outreach efforts to your MQLs should be geared towards getting your leads to sign up for a demo. A great way to do this is through email.
Boost your email open rate by doing the following:
- Personalize your emails
- Use a great email template
- Automate your email workflow
- Mention briefly, the different features of your product, and how those functions will be of value to the potential buyer
- Make your call to action clear and visible
- Avoid transparent and avoid spamming. More on this in the image below
Figure 4: Image source: CoSchedule
6. Host A Webinar
Your leads are already getting a lot of information through the content you post. But when you host a Webinar, you get to educate them in person and to stitch together, into one meaningful presentation, all that content you have been posting.
Webinars introduce a personal element in your interaction with your leads. They also provide a platform to introduce potential customers to other people. In addition, webinars give you an opportunity to conduct a detailed demo, only instead of doing this to just one client, your demo goes out to a group.
You can make your webinars more impactful by inviting guest speakers such as industry influencers or other brands you have partnered with. This gives them a platform to demonstrate in person, how they have benefited from dealing with your brand.
7. Run Paid Ads
Your leads may get your pre-demo emails. They may even open and read them. But not all them will sign up for your demo. A great way to remain in their space is with paid ads. Since paid ads get more visibility, after running demos, run ads showing relevant content. You can run different versions of the same ad, as this helps to drive your message home.
Here’s why paid ads work so well as a marketing tool
- Paid ads, such as google ads, have no minimum spending amount. This makes them a cost effective option
- Your brand gets featured on the first page of search results
- They increase immediate traffic
- Their ROI is measurable as it’s simply a dollar earned for a dollar spent
8. Run Post-Demo Campaigns
Run a campaign specifically targeted at the leads who have already attended your demos. It’s not uncommon for leads to fall off after a demo, and a targeted campaign could help move things along. Your campaign should include
- Post demo ads. These can be videos that show prospects how to solve a pain point
- Post-demo emails recapping the demo details and offering helpful, new information
9. Executive Engagement. Ask a Key Decision Maker to Send Direct Mail
B2b buying decisions usually involve multiple decision makers. Your leads are likely to involve more stakeholders later on in your engagement. Some of those stakeholders will be high level executives, even C-Suite. Once this happens, ask for help from an executive in your company.
A lot of times, higher level decision makers rely on their subordinates’ judgement in buying decisions. However, where you face resistance coming from top tier management, a direct email from a peer in your company could help sway the buyer’s decision.
10. Take Part In Events
Events provide an excellent opportunity for one-on-one engagement with prospects. Some prospects may even accelerate through the funnel at events; hence your event is where you get to bring everything you have to your demo and
- Showcase your culture, as a company and team
- Target large groups of clients in one go
- Gather industry intelligence
- Gain a competitive edge
Nurturing MQLs should be a critical part of your selling strategy. As you implement each of the lead nurturing tactics discussed above, measure them, use the insights to make better decisions, and, improve on your strategy based on the data you collect.